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Case Study: Nutrition Monitoring

for aged care facilities

A system to monitor the nutrition of residents and patients in nursing homes and hospitals.

Nutrition Monitoring

Nursing staff record their patients’ weights in the system. Using a scientific formula developed by a nutrition expert and licensed to our customer, the system combines weight changes with a few other indicators such as appetite loss to identify patients who may be at risk of malnutrition.

The system is installed in more than 200 nursing homes and hospitals.


Many nursing homes have little or no IT support available to them, and in some cases nobody can remember the administrator password. To support these sites we packaged the application’s components as side–by–side assemblies so that the installer doesn’t need administrator privileges. Our customer’s sales representatives install it from CD during their sales visits. Since the sales representatives are not IT experts we needed to make the installation as straightforward as possible.

A few nursing homes still run Windows 2000. This operating system doesn’t support side–by–side assemblies, so we provided an installer that registers the COM DLLs in the registry in the normal way. This installer needs administrator privileges.

The software is not installed in our customer’s site, but rather is installed in their customers’ sites — the nursing homes and hospitals. Consequently the project sponsor handles first–level support directly, requiring no involvement from her own IT department. We handle other support levels.

The system uses Microsoft Access databases. For support, the nursing staff simply email the database file to us, and we fix it up and send it back.

The software implements a scientific process, developed by a nutrition expert, for identifying residents and patients who may be at risk of malnutrition. A fundamental feature of the process is that some simple measurements, analysed appropriately, can identify at–risk patients and recommend immediate action.

Nutrition Monitoring

Nursing staff weigh their patients monthly and ask some straighforward Yes/No questions. The system makes a risk assessment based on these inputs, and illustrates with a red/orange/green colour system.

A nutrition specialist can print out the history of an at–risk patient and use it to inform their expert opinion.

In addition to patients’ weight/appetite histories, the system produces other reports showing patients at various risk levels. These reports can be printed directly or exported to Microsoft Excel.

Our customer, a producer of nutrition products, gives this system to their own customers free of charge to enhance their brand engagement. It’s a natural complement to their own products and services.

Internally, the system builds its sponsor’s prestige within their own organisation. Other groups within the company frequently express an interest in using it with their own customers, either as is or with some customisations to suit their local market.

The system cost less than $10,000 to produce, and it continues to support our customer’s brand and enrich their relationships with their customers.